The Implicit Association Test was a very interesting test to take, I decided to take the tests concerning weight and age to see what sort of association i may have. Honestly while taking the tests though they seemed to be akin to quick time events. I understand that they want the answers as quick as possible so that it is just your basic opinion and you don’t really have time to consider your answer or what you press, but I find it difficult to understand why this gives a result as to preference. Would the answer that you are associated with come from the side that you answered the fastest ? If so that does not make a lot of sense to me since the test seemed to just be a way of categorizing silhouettes and negative or positive words. Now if the test had left it more open to interpretation by having a lot of different sized silhouettes maybe I could see that happening. Using that test one could see what size a certain person considers as skinny and how much weight someone has to have to be classified as fat in their eyes. By doing this and removing the aspect of an X popping up if you typed the wrong answer I think it would all ow the test to be a bit more open in terms of people learning from it and applying it. Instead though the silhouettes used in this test were very distinctly one or the other. It was either some very skinny people or some overweight people there wasn’t really a middle ground where it could go either way. Then I began to think that perhaps the test went off a sort of connotation, because I began to see patterns in the test where skinny people and positive words occurred together a lot, whereas negative words occurred with the fat silhouettes. This was flipped during the fifth part of the test which makes me feel like that is what they could be testing for. They test how fast you can react using the constants where you are just identifying one thing then by using how you associate with the words if you believe being skinny is more positive you will be quicker during that round whereas if you believe being fat is more positive you will answer faster during that specific round. If that is the case then that is very interesting and has potential although there are still quite a few flaws I see in it. After taking this test I do not know if I will be able to use it later on in life, but I am definitely interested in it so I wonder what sort of capabilities these tests have.



For my summary over the news article pertaining to whether or not firstborn children had higher IQ’s then their siblings I decided to be as straight forward as possible. I decided that, because after re-reading the news article after knowing what the research was actually testing I felt like that would be the best way to have readers be interested in it. The study itself was really well done and well thought out so I wanted to portray that it had been, but still keep to the facts and figures that came from what the research discovered. It is true that the results were not very exciting finding that siblings have about the same IQ is not going to re-imagine intelligence as we know it, but I was not going to forge results or stretch key points in the research in an attempt to play on the readers naivety. Now I did try to hook readers with the beginning albeit in a partially sarcastic way, but  felt like it was a necessary comparison  to the up beat but incorrect use that was done in the New York Times article. I did not have any real issues with leaving out data since my word count maximum was very large, so that wasn’t necessary. I did decide to cut straight to the point though, I disliked the original article getting distracted so often or going off on a tangent due to someone stating a quote and giving minimal information about it. I wanted to be very straightforward that way people who were interested in the topic could read and enjoy what was found, whereas those who were not did not have to stick around until the end. Another portion that I decided to avoid was using a lot of quotes from seemingly viable sources, I would have really enjoyed using sources such as that, but when I went to research the people quoted in news article I could not come up with anything sufficient enough to place in my article. Therefore I just decided to leave quotes out of it entirely. All in all it was fun rewriting the article, and while my skill to draw readers in and keep them there is probably insufficient compared to a professional New York Times writer or editor, I did what I believe was right and what the people would enjoy. I gave the truth no stretches or discrepancies, which is what I would have desired if I was the reader.

Research Article Summary


Birth Order and Intelligence

Breaking News! After eight long years of research over intellectual differences between siblings there is an answer. Children who are raised as the first born child have on average a 1 point difference on IQ tests compared to their siblings. These results come from a study done over a period of 8 years in Norway. In this study children were given IQ tests when they reached the age of 18. To limit any sort of social differences that the children may have had each child was from a Norwegian military family and was raised in fairly similar ways. The families were chosen at random with only one stipulation the family had to have more than one child to be applicable for this test.  However these tests were done with the idea that being a firstborn child is not necessarily due to what order you were born in. There were cases where the technical second born child was tested as a first born child due to complications in the first born child’s life that lead to premature death. The people conducting the test believed that being a firstborn child was more about the psychological standpoint rather than the physical one. In their eyes being the first born child was akin to being the teacher or the protector of your siblings that it was the natural role for the eldest child to fulfill.

Now taking all of that into account the difference does not seem very big, and it is not meant to. The findings here show that it is very unlikely that birth order correlates with intelligence. There was a much bigger difference in the scores of the firstborn children and the second born children then the difference between the two. This test does wonders in proving that it is not the biological difference between siblings that determines intelligence as well as shows that it does not correlate with the psychological viewpoint of being the firstborn child. This finding can continue the search to see what psychological factors do affect in terms of intelligence. If it is not being a firstborn child then where do the differences lie? Perhaps in how or where the children raised, maybe some parts are attributed to a natural affinity for learning that was reinforced at an early age. This research is the first step down a path that could lead to better ways of learning and why the work. This experiment could be the beginning of a journey into how people can become geniuses and use their intelligence to help others.


News Article-http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/22/science/22sibling.html?_r=0

Science Article-http://science.sciencemag.org/content/316/5832/1717.full

Stress Kills?

After watching Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk over stress I honestly feel a bit stressed out. I may be focusing on the wrong part of her discoveries or maybe I’m going about it the wrong way, but her beliefs over stress killing is unbelievable! She spoke about how people who believed stress was a negative part of their lives were 43 percent more likely to die in the next 8 years. That was it, that was the only information she gave. She cannot do that there are so many more implications to death than just stress. For instance everyone on that list could have been around their 90’s living rich fulfilling lives, but with some stress due to physical limitations. Then eight years later 43 percent of them could have passed, but she attributes it to stress? That really doesn’t make sense to me. At first part of me thought it was a slip of the tongue she couldn’t possibly directly correlate stress with death there were way to many variables for that, but then not even five minutes later into this talk she goes to say that stress should be the 15th largest killer of people in the United States. My immediate reaction to that was “How?” Do people just die when too much stress enters their lives? What causes that, how can people determine how much stress will kill them? Unless 43% of her numbers all suddenly were stricken by broken heart syndrome and died from it, I find it incredibly hard to believe that stress was what did them in.

Stress may have something to do with death although without knowing anything about the data she used I cannot tie anything together there. Just the thought that she says that stress legitimately kills you if you think it is bad for you bothers me to no end. It is not a conclusion she can make, death isn’t black and white like that. Besides her belief that stress kills I will say that she made a good point that life is full of stress, but we take it and grow stronger from it. So that is what I am going to continue to do, I will keep going no matter the stress, because eventually I’ll make it to the other side.


Sources: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#

Personality Quiz

Before I began taking the tests I was very skeptical about the results,and after completing the quizzes I stand firm with my assumption. First of all these tests seem very easy to smudge or cheat on. It wouldn’t be difficult to cheat the system, but even when someone like myself comes along and takes it as honestly as possible the results can still be skewed. The face validity on the majority of these quizzes was very high and it was very easy to see what the quiz was asking and what results certain answers would give. Oddly enough though the color quiz which has very low face validity was very accurate to a certain extent. I was very surprised that the quiz hit a lot of key points that i perceive about myself. Honestly I have no idea how the color quiz was accurate at these points, it really puzzles me, but I even enjoyed taking it the best compared to the others. The others were long and in an exam format that was fairly boring but I was very curious to see the results. Each of these quizzes gave about the same outcome comparatively. Each with their certain ways to calculate each factor of a personality, but it was something that seemed alright at face value even though their way to calculate personality isn’t really expanded on and is fairly generic. It is odd to see that the Color Test that I had the least faith in went the most in depth and was the most fun. Of course it did not get everything right in my opinion, but it covered certain aspects of myself that I truly feel and think about, even things that I am really uncomfortable with that I acknowledge. All in all it was a fun experience with an outcome that I could not have predicted, it makes me want to do a little more research into the Color Test and see how the results are made, as well as if there were other successes or if mine was just a fluke.




Sources for the Personality Quizzes:







Sleep Theories

After watching the TED talk I can really see how Russel’s theory of sleep having multiple reasons or theories behind it can be valid, but if I had to choose one from the video i would agree with the Memory and learning processing theory. It seems to be common knowledge that sleep and learning correlate with each other. A fully rested student tends to do better than a student who stayed up much later the night before. The theory that sleep is used as a means of fortifying the knowledge and memories that took place prior to it would make a lot of sense to me. So I went to  HowSleepWorks.com and did some more research to make sure the theory had some more information backing it. According to the information I found there the theory seems solid with sleep being key to forming connections to information learned prior to the sleep. Although I also found that sleep also acts like it is laying a foundation helping to learn and process things in the next day as well.Both of these can be seen by looking at the brain activity during sleep. The brain tends to hit the parts of the brain that were stimulated during the day. Dreams also tend to incorporate things that have occurred recently, prior to going to bed. This could be one way of explaining how people can get nightmare’s after certain scary events occur. People who watch horror movies late at night or even have a traumatic experience that day may relive some of those memories when they fall asleep. There is even some evidence to show that REM sleep and dreams can work on strengthening connections with memories making them easier to access as well as removing memories the brain decides are not as useful or just unnecessary. I find HowSleepWorks.com to be a viable source due to it being an amalgamation of information stockpiled from multiple government websites as well as other books, websites, television, and videos.

Implications of Altering Memory

Memories, from a philosophical view they can be seen as the key strands that tie a person together. It is what connects someone all the way through their lives, if their memories were to be lost some philosophers believe that they are not even the same person anymore. It seems outrageous that something so important in determining how people think and act can be fabricated so easily. The idea that some of the moments that define you could just have been planted or altered by someone else is frightening, and its implications are almost endless.

With Loftus’ experiments and research it appears that a great deal of people are easily susceptible to alterations in memory. It ranges from simple changes such as a  different color or additional object in a memory, but reaches the possibility of adding new memories from nothing simply by leading the subject. Just a few minutes, some substantial back story, a few believable lies, and suddenly you could remember laying back on the beach two years ago having the time of your life with your significant other. When in reality you hadn’t met them yet, you were working during that time, and you don’t even like the beach. The capabilities of this study truly scare me. I hold my memories very highly, because I do believe that my past experiences make me who I am today. What if some of those memories though, the ones that I cherish, or the ones that torment me weren’t even real? Would that mean that who I am now, was just a lie, a fraud that was created from a fake memory.

This is why even though I could see the beneficial outcomes that implanting memories could have for children, addicts, people who wish to better themselves,  and others I cannot put them over the cons. The horrifying idea that we could be built and altered not by our choices and the paths we take, but by someone who can cut into our memories and insert their own concepts, histories, memories, or even their own desires. In our lives we are influenced by so many outside sources some can be good, others can be bad, but this, this takes the chance out of everything. This is continuing with the intent of molding someone or at least an experience that someone had based off of personal opinions that may not even be right.

Jim Fallon: Inside The Mind of a Killer

For my blog post I watched the Ted Talk “Jim Fallon: Inside the Mind of the Killer”. I was drawn to this video, because I had heard the rumor that every murderer had something in common with their brains. I wanted to learn if there was actually any legitimacy to that claim and Jim explains what his knowledge of the subject very well.

To begin the talk Jim Fallon explains the tests that he has been apart of lately. He has been given scans of brains to look at and make deductions about, but he is not told anything about the brains. The brains are randomized and he merely points out everything he sees in the scans. Within the random scans are the brains of murderers as well as a pattern. The first pattern is that every last murderer’s brain he has evaluated had damage to the orbital cortex. Another repeating factor is that the murderers had high traces of the MAOA gene which correlates with how violent someone is. This seems odd since the extra amount of MAOA occurs because there is extra Serotonin during childbirth. Serotonin normally helps calm people, but in excess it is possible for your brain to become resistant to it.Now another key thing that can occur for those who become murderers is that they have a violent and traumatic experience in their childhood. When someone has the excess genes and has had a very violent experience early on in their life, it really can be just a few steps away from disaster.

I found this talk really interesting especially the part where Jim emphasized that the key part of a murderer is a traumatic experience in their youth. The idea that one experience could lead to something so terrible really made me think about a lot of the things people take for granted and the mistakes people make everyday.  One simple violent mistake could put some child onto this horrible path.

With knowing Jim’s background and how much he has worked with this material I am convinced that he has recorded his findings correctly. I believe Jim’s findings are sound because the examples were given to him randomly and he was just documenting issues he found with the brains, the patterns were determined after he had already evaluated the brains. If I were to do an experiment I believe that I would gather a group of volunteers who excel in evaluating the brain and any issues with it. The goal of the experiment would be to document any issues with the brains of murderers and whether or not there is a pattern. I would not tell them the experiment was focused on murderers, because that is just unnecessary and I would be afraid that by telling them it could skew the data. I would take random brain scans from all over the world and I would ask them to document anything unusual about the brains. I would hopefully have a group of at least 10 specialists to evaluate 50 scans each. A majority of the scans would be of people with different brain trauma or oddities, but each specialist would have 15 scans of murderers from different places around the world randomly mixed in for them to evaluate. By doing the experiment like this I would hope to find any patterns or similarities between the murderers without skewing the data.

Beer Goggles Critique

While this was a n enjoyable episode of MythBusters I see a lot of issues with this study. First of which is it is absolutely opinionated this goes to more of a philosophical question of what is beauty to these three candidates. Another large issue is that for the so called control where they were given new faces to judge that had the same score as one of the images from the first group their judgement could vary a lot compared to whoever judged the control. The next issue would be that it wasn’t randomly decided who would be tested, so this data can’t be applied to the world as a whole, as well as their was not a lot of representation from a lot of different backgrounds. For example there was only one girl who was tested. Another issue is that for this test it is very difficult for the control. Because the control was supposedly when they were sober rating people, but once they were buzzed isn’t it possible they could have just rated higher if they remembered their original score? It is even possible with the girl’s results because her second test showed different images of the same people, but they were all given lower scores. Also it never specified what alcohol level they needed to reach to be qualified as buzzed or drunk. Some good points from this would be that I enjoyed the idea behind it, it had some legitimacy from the myth since it is a well known belief, and if the method of testing was tweaked or expanded upon I believe that it could be potentially more verifiable. I believe to make it more verifiable the participants should be randomly selected, a constant should be given while they are in each state and if the tests were done over a period of time maybe even a few days to allow for the participates to forgot the images they saw and the scores they gave them.

About Me

Hello everyone my name is Logan Sullivan I love hanging out with my friends, playing sports, playing games, and spending time with my family. I am 18 years old and my birthday is March 19th. I was actually born in Omaha, Nebraska on the Air Force Base, but I moved to Texas when i was 2 and a half so I have been raised in Texas pretty much my whole life. I chose to take the General Psychology course because I find psychology, specifically the aspect of being able to predict someones actions based on things you can observe from them, very interesting. When I hear the word psychology I usually think of interpretation. For example if you are given a  problem such as what does it mean when someone has a very common dream. You interpret what that means to the person and why they are having that dream. The subjects I am most looking forward to are the memory retrieval sections, coping with stress sections, and the assessing intelligence sections. The few i am looking forward to the least would be the Drugs, alcohol, and the brain, the social roles, and the obedience topics. By the time the class is over I would like to be able to answer questions about people. Mainly can I predict the outcomes of a conversation with someone by just knowing psychological factors and tells, without knowing the person’s personality beforehand?